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Author Topic: Is online access a right or a privilege?  (Read 4943 times)

zridling

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Is online access a right or a privilege?
« on: July 09, 2009, 12:56:48 PM »
If online access is viewed as a right,
then it should be free to all. However, this would imply government/national control (which it does already to a large extent!) of the web. If the government bans your access to the web, then you're effectively crippled in this century with regard to information, all other sources being either under government or corporate control and serving their interests.

If online access is viewed as a privilege,
then it should remain as is, and suffer the arbitrary cost imposed on users by often very large corporations. Any online liberty is controlled by the market, which is controlled by one pure motive: profit.

banned20090709.jpg

This is not merely an economic issue. I'm wondering if it's time to start thinking that, in a world where we are already carrying devices (phones, blackberries, netbooks, etc.) that allow us to be more efficient, informed, and safe through communication and interaction, should a government or corporation be able to deny someone this right/privilege? By the way, it was this French story that got me thinking about this.

40hz

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Re: Is online access a right or a privilege?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2009, 02:21:54 PM »
As things currently stand, it is most definitely a privilege.

Whether or not some entity should be allowed (or trusted) to decide who gains access will always be a thorny issue.

But when it comes to governments, I don't think there's any question in their minds as to the extent of their authority. In theory, they have as much authority as the populace allows them to have. In practice, they have all the authority they need whenever they need it.

And in most countries, that authority is both broad and substantial. Especially when you consider that in most human societies, only the government retains the full legal authority to resort to violence (or take human life) in order to accomplish its mandate.

And in those situations where the legal authority to act is limited or absent, most governments will quickly grant themselves additional powers. The better ones do it through some semblance of a legal process. The rest do it through the expediency of a fiat. But all of them do it. Routinely.

So for me, it's less a question of "should they regulate" rather than "how much." Because they already have the effective power to regulate anything.

And if you don't believe me - just ask them! They'll be happy to clear up any doubts you may have... ;D


« Last Edit: July 09, 2009, 03:13:50 PM by 40hz »

4wd

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Re: Is online access a right or a privilege?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2009, 07:30:47 PM »
If online access is viewed as a right,
then it should be free to all. However, this would imply government/national control (which it does already to a large extent!) of the web. If the government bans your access to the web, then you're effectively crippled in this century with regard to information, all other sources being either under government or corporate control and serving their interests.

The web is that layer of hypertext that lives on the Internet and provides advertising to so many who need it.

If they ban web access, fine - there's still Usenet.

Pedantic?  Yes, but in cases like this I think it's important to get the terminology right.

zridling

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Re: Is online access a right or a privilege?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2009, 09:11:22 PM »
The web is that layer of hypertext that lives on the Internet and provides advertising to so many who need it.

If they ban web access, fine - there's still Usenet.

Pedantic?  Yes, but in cases like this I think it's important to get the terminology right.

I was using them interchangeably. But if you have no connection, how would you access Usenet?

4wd

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Re: Is online access a right or a privilege?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2009, 10:34:33 PM »
I was using them interchangeably. But if you have no connection, how would you access Usenet?

That's the problem, they aren't interchangeable.

Unfortunately, you have to be pedantic when you're dealing with legal issues.

The "web" is a subset of the Internet as a whole, just as Usenet, ftp, email1 and Gopher are.

If the law is used against you and the PTB say, "Right, you are banned from the web.", then you would have a very good case to still have Internet access to Usenet and whatever else that isn't the "web".

1.  Yes I know email isn't actually part of the Internet but it does rely on it for more than intra-[office|region] communications.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2009, 10:37:42 PM by 4wd »

Innuendo

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Re: Is online access a right or a privilege?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2009, 03:56:40 PM »
Internet access is a privilege, but it should be a right and the only reason I say this is because I have a real life example.

I have some nieces and nephews that live in the puckered sphincter of nowhere with no internet access. They have a hard time of it sometimes keeping up with their school-mates because they don't have the access to online research sources that their peers do.

Living quite a ways from a public library is a real downer when their parents work during library hours so they have to rely on non-parental ways to get to the library after school hours.

4wd

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Re: Is online access a right or a privilege?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2009, 06:45:34 PM »
I have some nieces and nephews that live in the puckered sphincter of nowhere with no internet access. They have a hard time of it sometimes keeping up with their school-mates because they don't have the access to online research sources that their peers do.

In that case, shouldn't the school be doing all it can to not disadvantage them?

eg. Scrapping some stupid PE lessons, (yes, I hated PE), so they can have time on school internet access.

Results should be marked taking into the account the means used to obtain them.

And while the Internet should be an aid to education, it shouldn't be the sole source of knowledge.

I remember the days when we actually had libraries in the schools.....imagine that!  You young whippersnappers have it so easy these days.[/old fogie voice]

EDIT: After thinking about I suppose it should actually be the Education Authority, (or whoever runs them, state, federal, etc), running the school that should be ensuring they aren't disadvantaged by providing, for example, a subsidised satellite internet connection if it's so essential to schooling.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2009, 06:59:16 PM by 4wd »

steeladept

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Re: Is online access a right or a privilege?
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2009, 11:06:31 AM »
Quote
EDIT: After thinking about I suppose it should actually be the Education Authority, (or whoever runs them, state, federal, etc), running the school that should be ensuring they aren't disadvantaged by providing, for example, a subsidised satellite internet connection if it's so essential to schooling.

Isn't that part of what Cyber Charter Schools are all about?  IIRC, they provide the computer, connection, and all necessary peripherals for any subscribed student(s).  (NOTE:  This is in reference to United States school systems only - other countries vary obviously!)

mouser

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Re: Is online access a right or a privilege?
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2009, 12:11:05 PM »
I guess i feel a little bit hesitant to call it a "right"..

However, i do feel like there should be something in between on one side a "right" vs. on the other side, a commercial item to be left to the private sector regardless of the social costs.

Seems to me this is perfect example of a resource that the public has every reason to insist (through their government entities and infrastructure) has become essential to modern life, and should therefore be ubiquitously available to the entire population, rich and poor -- and therefore subsidized when necessary for the public good.

Innuendo

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Re: Is online access a right or a privilege?
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2009, 10:36:40 PM »
Yes, the schools should be doing what they can to level the playing field, but that takes tax payer dollars and in this economy with ever-tightening belts and ever-shrinking budgets that means having to try to do a lot with little or no resources.

There's unfortunately no easy answer to this problem & looks like there won't be any sort of easy answer for a long, long time.

40hz

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Re: Is online access a right or a privilege?
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2009, 10:13:09 AM »
I guess i feel a little bit hesitant to call it a "right"..

However, i do feel like there should be something in between on one side a "right" vs. on the other side, a commercial item to be left to the private sector regardless of the social costs.

I think they used to call that: "The Right Thing to Do"  :)




Innuendo

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Re: Is online access a right or a privilege?
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2009, 11:05:11 AM »
I think they used to call that: "The Right Thing to Do"  :)

Having since being renamed to "The Right Thing To Do So Long As It Doesn't Cost Too Much Time, Effort, And/Or Money And Doesn't Cause Any Controversy Or Alienate Any Campaign Contributors"  :)

40hz

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Re: Is online access a right or a privilege?
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2009, 12:52:41 PM »
I think they used to call that: "The Right Thing to Do"  :)

Having since being renamed to "The Right Thing To Do So Long As It Doesn't Cost Too Much Time, Effort, And/Or Money And Doesn't Cause Any Controversy Or Alienate Any Campaign Contributors"  :)

Some years ago, during the Q&A at a public meeting in my hometown, I asked the (then) govenor of our state the following question:

How do you personally decide on a course of action when you're confronted with the choice of doing what is right versus doing what is politically expedient? What criteria do you apply when you make such a decision?

It got me a laugh, a smattering of applause - and a one way ticket out of the auditorium with police escort.

Free speech! Gotta love it. :Thmbsup:


zridling

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Re: Is online access a right or a privilege?
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2009, 03:18:00 PM »
Given what one can access (learn, do, apply, respond/complain, file, etc.) with online access, I think we should finally consider it a basic constitutional right. Such a right can be taken away by the government, e.g., prisoners lose their liberties, among them free, unmonitored communication is one, but I don't think "megacorp, inc." should be the one deciding who gets access and who does not. In the US, it can potentially be dicey since there are only 3-4(?) telecoms that control access to the networks.

It's 2009, not 1995. Future politicians need people like us to educate them on this issue. I figure the current ones are still wondering what email really is.